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Dispatch 15: The Bridge

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September 21st Photos
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Hugo Sindelar

September 21, 2018

Location: 78° 0' N 150° 0' W

Weather: -1°C (30°F), Mostly cloudy, seas ice covered, Southwest winds at 13 knots, seawater temperature -1.2°C (29.8°F)

Sea Ice: Scattered ice coverage.

Now for the Jeopardy question of the day:

The operational center of most ships that is responsible for communication, navigation, and vessel control.

Cue the Jeopardy think music….

The correct answer – What is the bridge?

Navigating to all our science stations, holding station when we arrive, and coordinating all science and crew operations occurs from the bridge.  An officer of the watch is on duty 24-hours a day, which helps explain why we make such fantastic time to each station.  They set the power of the ship and work with a quartermaster (who is charge of steering the ship) to make sure the correct course is set as we steam.  As we travel through ice, both the quartermaster and officer navigate together to find the route of least resistance.  Heavy ice slows progress and burns fuel.  With limited time on the cruise, it is important to get to each station safely and efficiently as possible. The rotating 4-hour shifts of officers and quartermasters ensures that the cruise stays on schedule and is able to conduct 24-hour science.

The officer of the watch and quartermaster also play a key role in “holding station”.  Once we arrive at a science station, they work together to clear an area for the CTD rosette and bongo casts or for mooring operations.  In heavy ice, this involves turning on the ship’s bubbler system, which uses compressed air to force ice away from the hull.  Using the bubbler and with precise steering of the ship, they are able to clear open patches of water that make it possible for the science team to complete their work even in the thickest of ice floes.

P.S.  Your quick update on Mooring B.  The recovery today went smoothly and efficiently.  Redeployment tomorrow.  This time for two years!

Last updated: October 7, 2019

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